Leading Business Schools for Asian Students
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Leading Business Schools for Asian Students

Economic developments over the past few years have initiated dramatic changes in global commerce, particularly when it comes to East-West relations. In 2008, when the housing bubble burst in the US, experts reported a mass emigration of Asians who had been educated in the US, now returning to the rising economies of India, China and South Korea to seek employment there.

At first, a reaction like this could have been written off as panic or uncertainty. The job market in the US – and, soon after, Europe – was, after all, less robust than it had been in decades. But as the situation leveled out, it became apparent that recession-era figures were shaping up into longer-term trends. In short, Asian students were subscribing to a new paradigm: Earn your business credentials through an esteemed Western institute, but seek employment in the East.

Earlier in September, the US’ National Public Radio reported on a negative shift in the way American businesspersons are perceived in China. Nations all over Asia have seen their own economies weathering recent financial turmoil with a sort of resilience that their Western counterparts simply could not muster. Some are beginning to assert – for understandable reasons – that their own economic models are superior.

More time must pass before any definitive calls can be made. But in the near-term, there’s no question that Asia is currently the place to plant and grow a business.

A source of pride for Asian students
For Asian students of business, the recent economic performance seen across the Eastern hemisphere has become a source of pride, a cause for discussion and even grounds for on-campus debate. This is generating a livelier and more dynamic classroom environment than many business schools across the US, UK, Netherlands and Australia have seen in years.


Pic: Studying in the atrium.

The talking points are clear and difficult to disagree with. Why go prospecting among the firms of Wall Street or the start-ups of Silicon Valley when you could play a role in the explosive growth of Shanghai or the IT boom of Bangalore? These are the frontiers of global business, and they’re promising serious ROI to entrepreneurs and savvy business-minded people.

As nations across Asia continue to develop, and new business prospects emerge, it is likely that greater numbers of high-caliber universities will continue to emerge. There are already a few heavy hitters in multinational hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore, with even newer schools springing up across the region in partnership with well-established universities in the West.

However, universities in the West are reporting that they are seeing a surge in applications from Asian students – more than any on recent record. With that in mind, it appears that North America, Europe and Australia are still the choicest destinations for business degrees and MBAs. The difference comes down to where those credentials are being put to work after they have been earned.


Pic: CMU Graduation Day.

The following are among the leading business schools for Asian students today:

The Adam Smith Business School is named after the world’s first economist, who began as a University of Glasgow student and went on to become rector. Today, the school conducts cutting-edge research in areas of economics, business, management and finance, continuing the legacy of interdisciplinary learning set out by its namesake. The University of Glasgow has been in operation for more than five centuries, and it offers the sort of legacy and prestige that newer schools in North America and abroad simply cannot offer. Given its association with Glasgow and connections to Adam Smith, this business school is a highly attractive candidate for internationally minded business students from Asia. Read the full profile here…


Pic: University of Glasgow.

Cast on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the US, Northern Michigan University’s College of Business is a leading choice for Asian students seeking international business credentials. Top accreditation, convenient class scheduling and a central US location combine to make this university internationally attractive. The MBA is Northern Michigan University’s most sought-after graduate degree, and has been so for more than two and a half decades. Recent innovations and interdisciplinary developments in its course structuring have boosted its popularity. Read the full profile here…

Based in England’s West Midlands, Staffordshire University is a leading contender for international students of business. The university sits at the head of a dynamic and multicultural network of global universities. The entire learning community is made up of students from more than 75 different countries. Some of these are studying through Staffordshire’s international partner universities, while others have based themselves on campus in Stoke and Stafford. In either event, Staffordshire University is an ideal place to earn a business degree with strong Western credentials while developing a vast professional network that transcends national boundaries. Read the full profile here…


Pic: College Road library at Staffordshire University.

Founded in 1892, Central Michigan University (CMU) has since become one of the 100 largest universities in the United States and is highly respected for its AACSB-International accredited College of Graduate Studies, featuring the MBA (with 10 areas of concentration), the renowned MA in Economics, the Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS), and its newly designed MBA/MSIS hybrid degree option. CMU also provides the interdisciplinary and overwhelmingly popular Master of Science in Administration (MSA), which was specifically designed for students who want a career in administration but do not have an undergraduate degree in business. Students from all academic backgrounds can choose from 11 concentration areas and work closely with accomplished faculty mentors and experienced professionals who share a strong commitment to academic success. Read the full profile here…

Based in the Netherlands, Arnhem Business School is part of HAN University of Applied Sciences. This is one of the top-ten institutes for applied sciences in the Netherlands, and it fosters a diverse student body that is more than 30,000 strong. The Netherlands may be small, but it operates the 16th-strongest economy in the world. Clearly, the business practices and economic strategies originating here are worth paying attention to, so it’s easy to see why students from across Asia are standing up and taking notice. Read the full profile here…

Australia’s top business school has been a leader both in research and academic rankings for years now. This is a high-profile institute for international students, and its position in the Asia-Pacific region makes it especially attractive for Asian students.The Australian School of Business (ASB) is under the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and its programs are particularly flexible, making it easier for students to mix and match courses and tailor a degree to their specific interests and aspirations. New developments in course structuring have amplified this feature. Students are encouraged to develop their career with core courses, but to supplement this by exploring course offerings through other departments on campus. Read the full profile here…


Pic: Australian School of Business - UNSW.

The University of Illinois has a strong reputation in the US for delivering high-caliber programs well beyond what is expected of the average public university. There are several reasons that students from Asia gravitate to the business programs here, not least of which is the nearly half-a-million-strong network of U of I alumni positioned around the world. Top-tier credentials, international recognition and a high level of prestige continue to place U of I on any aspiring business student’s short list.

One of the leading schools of business in Asia, Nanyang Business School is situated in Singapore and continues to gain international recognition. When the university opened, it was strictly a Chinese-language institute, but now NTU offers internationally accredited coursework in English to ambitious students from all over the world. In fact, the Financial Times ranks Nanyang Business School 14th in the world, making this a clear leading contender for business students regardless of where they are from.